Sunday, April 24, 2011

Preguntas Tragica

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The Sphinx is on the job
all enigma and melancholy light
a beast slips out of the distance and
eyes him proceeding to take
the Sphinx lights a cigarette and wonders
thinking about the lamb of wonder the
lamb of magic
the lamb of peace
the blood of the lamb
and, at midnight, washes his hands of the whole deal.
Then, out of the darkness
some traveler arrives
only passing by and
in leaving, takes with him
the sins of the world.
The Sphinx, going home at dawn, chants
for the dead- and at his front porch,
stoops to clean up the broken beer bottles and


Where now lies the hungry eye?
eye that seeks the lightning?
asking for boxes of air
and the courage to eat god
where are your curses?
the tragedies that fly from broken glass?
a dog with hands may appear
and count your wrinkles on its
magic fingers
urging you to let go
slapping its side and
extending interest
to your little schemes
where does the dusk end,
and the night begin?

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Ten Thousand Things

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The Ten Thousand Things

I'm taking a brief intermission from Ulysses, here, to make the announcement that sometime in the last few days I put up my ten thousandth sketchbook drawing on my website since March of 2007. Yes, I admit that some of the work is rubbish, but the intention was to generate as much imagery as possible. My original goal was to see if I could do this, starting at age 56, before I reached my 60th birthday, which will happen in July.

The work I have done and will continue to do here is the background pattern for almost everything else I am concerned with; it springs from my irrational mind and finds its way out into my other artistic pursuits, my teaching practice, my life. Most of these drawings have been done in the early mornings- a time between the dream state and the worries of the day, a time when I could allow my thoughts to meander and not need a direction or a particular attention to pressing matters of living. As a framework, the parts of the drawing practice that end up here, on the blog, are usually loosely concerned with imagery accompanying the text of Joyce's Ulysses- hence lots of Cyclops, Circe-angel, piano playing demons, cat, citizen dog, etc imagery- and meant to be counterpoints to the verses deconstructed from the text of the book.

I intend to continue this blog until I have worked my way through the balance of the text of Ulysses. I think this will happen around the end of 2011. I haven't decided, yet, how to handle the last chapter of the book, as it is really just one long rambling sentence- I have toyed with the idea of finishing up with a 44-line poem to bring an end to the project. At that point I will also stop publishing to this blog and move on to another project.



Monday, April 18, 2011

The Devil of Samizdat

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Carried along on drifting wind
until I flew out of heaven
and hit the pounded ground
bumping down on hard-earned admiration
with a kiss for a promise
and a bell
to draw me a deep soul
and end up striking out from
the clutches
of waiting sirens


generous lucifer
has a handful of coins
and he is paying for all this drama
his cash is counted moment to moment
less wise you may find
him falling apart
and weeping in thirst
giving a rambling answer
to the thing you lost.
why bury the killer
when he has so much wisdom?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hooray For Captain Spaulding!

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There, the fine nothingness,
it winds through my days
my life a peepshow on a reef
a thing mistaken for feeling
and down, down below, piano music
do you hear?
paid for by memory
with forfeited ears
hauled in from the corner of somewhere
it knows where I can be found
my purse allowing all hands
in hiding while unraveling the attachments
to have this relic and
not know what it is for
after all, we are all
in this together.


within this gentle sleep
our dreams, a riddle;
these lies of blessings these sins
permitted within the boundaries of the state of night
delighted we apologize to our liars
our debt paid down
as morning approaches
as we translate with a short hand
as we chatter out our time
unaware of our troubled sight.

(*At last we are to meet him,
The famous Captain Spaulding.
From climates hot and scalding,
The Captain has arrived.)
"Animal Crackers" 1936

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Listening to the Wind

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That recent Winter -(cold sacrilege)
gave way to tomorrow and Spring
from sheetmetal sky
now cloudless we fools stand before you
a veiled jury lacking standing
our holy stains go up in smoke
the sulphur sings a willing
lovesong and we are unbroken, yet.
We, these gardeners of straw
pissing away our days happily
nourished on onions and god
spouting our lame innocence
to waterboys, jerking us off in the rain
Listen and I will tell you
of the fox who flees the aging crack of the world
I will tell you for the price of a nail.


the canvasser rambles through the coats of the dead
fishing pockets for teeth and eyes
and something to wipe himself with
in this dimension the cost of night
is a cheap as a last song
on a dark piano.
Me. I take a hair and find glee
while a cat plays chords on its
I saw the bullies marched off into the flowers
only the lambs returned

Monday, April 11, 2011

The False Perception Of Commodities

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I was shown my wings and
then in pure presence, was airborne
drifting over woodland trees
alight I had sudden friends
speak to me of immortality
where living is electric and
even the rocks can hear
where hands change hands
at the altar of the wind.
why should we fly
when we have all these clumsy jewels
on the ground?

Waiting, warm you, in desire
lost in dreams
convenient apparitions flying , full over water
beyond where the skulls of war
overpower our thoughts.
Apparitions come unbidden
to seat where I sat
to favor us in their fullness
to knock us into the water,
to grant us special forgiveness
to rise then recline again
to give forth a crackling dance, eyeless,
and not knowing what to do.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Something Missing In the Middle

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Might all these days be snow-filled?
we roll with cold fingers down the hill behind the house
rolling downhill til
we reach the high bridge
we are sixteen years old again,
virgin saints
glad of the night god who dropped her glasses
and put on her animal skins
to cheer us and possess our tiny spirits.
might we remember this on a warm day
in the shade of a dark wood
among the nymphs and the leaves
the street now lost to us.


Something some country clerk said
to an ugly girl
ends up starving a nation.
we fall toward the water thinking we are flying
yet sailing downward
dropping giddy nightmare
scrolling through our minds
regular plumes from burning nations
fill our nostrils and send outward
their national darkness
headless hatless mummies as we hit the water
and unravel
our silver plundered and our air
unfit to breathe.
we are now happy fools
traversing lightly head over heels through
the yellow sky
intent on wartime
sailing through the earth
writing epitaphs on the summer wind

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

And All the Sinners,...Saints,...

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there must be a side that's loose
there must be a sea that's worse
the absurd cracked steel
understands these claims
I have not seen this
dictionary of wrong flung
so far open to the definition of
stones. Some are named
incorrectly. Some are
seen with children's eyes and
soiled with glue and wine.
they were pushed from a bed of hands
and fell long ago into these
noiseless days.
They will not be received in paradise, these stones.


the school of Halcyon days
whose boys in striped cloaks were
crushed by love beneath the lonely trees
is now a spot on the sun
a clearing of summer
found living again, only in the tight heat.
we shelter in the shade of a
thousand flighting birds
mingling with the sky;
seeking their end.
We prosper in instinct
and stand in the clearing of these dark days
by the shouting waterfalls and
the footballs and the odors of
highborn ladies.
The price of our freedom is too small
but we came here in vice
we came to do business.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


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On finding the night you are
excited by the edge so you
stamp along the rusty rain to
make a new astronomy. You
violate the pipes and see how they
vibrate handbook music
and weave hair and spit
into gold enough to buy the
services of a prostitute cuckoo
to follow it and in following
give away all your haggard diamonds.
so as you grew,
your carpet of secrets
gave way beneath you.


memory of your names
so lately suffocated by
the act of return.
If you gave a damn
we'd bury you
and crawl along the secondbest epitaph .
to forget our lies.
the justice of scoundrels
will serve for us all.


Sometimes the cure is worse than,...
any dark night spent
kissing and following those unseen dark curves
into these bits of bliss
into this popular century
surrounded by praise
and bounded by shame.
our stars hint at worst-cases
and beauty bears us away
professing hidden immortality.
We pray for summer and we are glad
to wash up, shipwrecked. on its rocks.